Joe Lawler is almost right to say that I’m “less concerned with unborn babies and more concerned with electoral success.” I am concerned with the electoral success of principled candidates, and by “principled” I probably mean the same thing on at least 80 percent of issues as what Joe would mean if he used the term.
Joe’s wording makes me sound quite callous, but in truth since I don’t consider a zygote or embryo to be an “unborn baby,” at least at that stage of the process of pregnancy his wording is accurate. If we’re talking about something later term, I’m somewhat more sympathetic to the anti-abortion view, and I do not ever support the termination of a fetus which could live (particularly live without heroic assistance) outside the womb. There are shades of gray here for me in a way which I understand, and respect, there are not for Joe.
But I’d like to make a broader point, one which I think often gets lost in this debate between pro-choice and anti-abortion wings of the Republican Party: I bet that Joe and I would appoint exactly the same type of judge or justice.
I want a judiciary which does not make law or legislate from the bench. Thus, I oppose Roe v Wade even though I am pro-choice. As I’ve said before, I don’t support torturing the Constitution even if I like the outcome once in a while.
This is where I think pro-choice and anti-abortion wings of the GOP should find common ground: the anti-abortion folks won’t get anywhere until Roe is gone. I also want Roe gone, though I would fight very hard to keep it from being replaced with its opposite at the federal level.
In my view abortion is none of the federal government’s business, just as murder is generally not (and should generally not be) a federal offense. In short, let the abortion debate go back to the states. That’s as good as it’s going to get from people like me in terms of what people like Joe want. And I think it should be more than enough to allow us to continue together down the path of trying to achieve electoral success for candidates who, even if not anti-abortion explicitly, indirectly favor the pro-life position by support “strict constructionist” judges, as I do.